Six Degrees of Separation – from ‘The End of the Affair’ to ‘Catch the Rabbit’

I’ve been meaning to take part in the bookish meme Six Degrees of Separation, created by Kate from Books Are My Favourite and Best, for a long time. This month I’m finally joining in, despite being (fashionably) late! What does it consist in? Every month Kate chooses a book and we just need to add other six, each having a link to the previous book in our chain.

This March, the initial book is The End of the Affair by Graham Greene, which I don’t know much about, as I haven’t read it. Set in London during the Second World War, it seems to be about an affair gone awry. After Sarah ends her relationship with Maurice Bendrix, he hires a private detective to follow her.

Another book set during the Second World War and that I also haven’t read yet is Transcription by Kate Atkinson. In 1940, the 18-year-old Juliet Armstrong starts working at an obscure department of the MI5, whose purpose is to monitor fascist supporters.

In Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, a mix of spy novel and love story, the main character, Serena Frome, also joins the MI5 but in the 1970s. She works in a programme to fight communism through the infiltration into the intellectual world.

The Wall Jumper by Peter Schneider also takes place during the Cold War. Set in Berlin, before the fall of the wall, it features an anonymous narrator who collects stories about some of the people who have illegally gone to the other side.

Staying in Berlin but travelling in time, my next choice is Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck. Richard, a retired university professor, tentatively immerses himself in Oranienplatz, where African asylum seekers are sleeping in tents. In the process, he starts to question his sense of belonging.

In Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante, the third book in the Neapolitan Novels, Elena also questions whether she still feels at home in Naples, while continuing her convoluted friendship with Lila.

Catch the Rabbit by Lana Bastasic is another novel about childhood friends. Although they haven’t spoken for 12 years, a phone call is all it takes for Lejla and Sara to go on a road trip from Bosnia to Vienna looking for Lejla’s exiled brother.

My first attempt at Six Degrees of Separation was an enjoyable journey. As I’ve only read two of the books I mentioned, it was an opportunity to remember various of the books that I have on my wish list for the future and to discover new ones. I probably won’t be joining in every single month, but I’ll definitely continue to do so occasionally.


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